BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Continuing a long tradition of developing close ties with national organizations that advance diversity and inclusion, the Indiana University Kelley School of Business is partnering with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., the first intercollegiate Greek-lettered fraternity for African American men.
Through the partnership, college graduates who are Alpha Phi Alpha members are invited to apply for a fellowship program to attend Kelley’s nationally ranked Full-Time MBA Program.
“We are proud of a heritage at Kelley that highlights the importance of developing leaders who reflect our increasingly diverse society through a learning environment that is supportive for all,” said Ash Soni, interim dean of the Kelley School and The Sungkyunkwan Professor.
“Alumni of Alpha Phi Alpha have included a Supreme Court justice, a United Nations ambassador, civil rights leaders and, of course, many successful businessmen. We hope this new partnership will inspire more graduates to learn about leadership opportunities in business, promoting greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in corporate America,” Soni added.
The Kelley School has historically been a primary influencer of meaningful change in the business world. For example, it was one of three founding members of the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, which has helped more than 10,000 people of color earn a graduate business degree since 1966. The Kelley School was also one of the first participants of the Forté Foundation, which supports the advancement of women in business.
“Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is renowned for its development of global leaders across every field, including business,” said General President Willis l. Lonzer, III, Ph.D. “As the world’s first and leading intercollegiate fraternity founded by African American men, the fraternity is uniquely equipped to successfully partner with the Kelley School of Business and fully realize its goal of increasing African American and Latinx pursuit of business and management graduate degrees.”
Initially, Alpha Phi Alpha and the Kelley School will work together to support members who want to develop as leaders through an MBA. In addition to receiving financial support, Alpha Phi Alpha Fellows will benefit from Me, Inc., an award-winning career development program that guides students to their own true success. All graduates of the Kelley School become part of an alumni network of more than 126,000.
At least three full-tuition fellowships will be provided annually to successful applicants meeting the program’s admissions requirements. This will include those applicants referred by the national headquarters of Alpha Phi Alpha, or one of its regional chapters.
The school also may provide support for fellowship recipients to attend Alpha Phi Alpha national and regional conferences annually and provide applicants with application fee waivers. Kelley also will develop webinars and other opportunities for Alpha Phi Alpha undergraduates nationwide – including those at IU Bloomington — to learn more about careers in business.
Samuel Clark, a member of the 2023 MBA class and vice president of the Black MBA Association said the new partnership is a direct result of the Kelley School’s culture affording student autonomy and encouraging them to take an active role in “shaping the Kelley experience.”
“There is no better example than this partnership, which was conceived by students and endorsed by faculty and staff — all of whom are passionate about increasing the pathways by which Black and underrepresented students have access to the transformative work being done here in Bloomington,” said Clark, who is a member of another Black fraternity.
“As an alum, nothing excites me more than to see Kelley continuing to lead innovative efforts to increase diversity within the classroom,” added Sennel Threlkeld, a 2022 Kelley MBA graduate, a product marketing manager at Microsoft and a proud Alpha Phi Alpha member. “Kelley recognizes how pivotal representation is to the MBA experience for all our students … It is our hope that this partnership will pave the way for more of this kind to be established in the future.”
Headquartered in Baltimore, Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity was founded on Dec. 4, 1906, at Cornell University. Earlier this year, its Gamma Eta Chapter is celebrated its 75th anniversary at IU Bloomington. Established in March of 1947, it was the first undergraduate Alpha Phi Alpha chapter in the state of Indiana.
The fraternity — which has 85,000 alumni members and more than 8,000 college brothers — has long stood at the forefront of the African American community’s fight for civil rights through Alpha men such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, Adam Clayton Powell, Thurgood Marshall, Paul Robeson, Andrew Young, Edward Brooke and philosopher Cornel West. Alumni of its IU chapter include founding member Rev. Charles Harrison, a co-founder of the Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition.
Kelley is the second business school in the nation to partner with Alpha Phi Alpha. The school plans to pursue similar opportunities with other “Divine 9” Black fraternities and sororities, through outreach via the National Pan Hellenic Council.
The Kelley School also has produced a video to announce the partnership.